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The Political Economy of Japan's Low Fertility$
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Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780804754866

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804754866.001.0001

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Gendered Offices: A Comparative-Iistorical Examination of Clerical Work in Japan and the United States

Gendered Offices: A Comparative-Iistorical Examination of Clerical Work in Japan and the United States

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter 4 Gendered Offices: A Comparative-Iistorical Examination of Clerical Work in Japan and the United States
Source:
The Political Economy of Japan's Low Fertility
Author(s):

Mary C. Brinton

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804754866.003.0004

This chapter examines the clerical sector in the United States and Japan. It first outlines the historically transformative role of the clerical sector in increasing American female labor force participation, especially for the married population. It shows that the early cultural labeling of clerical work as “female” and women's subsequent near-monopolization of most of the numerically largest clerical occupations opened up a culturally sanctioned space for women in the American labor force that was preserved even when demands were high for full employment for men, as in the early post-WWII era. Next, the chapter outlines recent historical trends in women's clerical sector participation in Japan. It shows that although large numbers of women do hold clerical jobs, their presence in these positions does not increase their lifetime labor force attachment. The final section discusses in more general terms what the contrast between the United States and Japan tells us about the conditions necessary for clerical sector expansion to have a transformative effect on married women's labor force participation and rewards.

Keywords:   clerical sector, American female labor force participation, married women, working women, Japan, United States

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